Read Raw Ltd

Promoting Creative Writing in Scotland


Welcome to

The Rolling Poetry Page

Do you have a poem you want on the site?  Send it to and we'll put it up here.

To submit something, send it in the body of an e-mail to along with a few words about yourself.  Put Poetry Submission in the subject line.  There is no limit to length however pieces under 40 lines would be preferred.

Copyright remains with the author.



Ladybird poppies

stem from colourfields

as geometrical shapes

land in the waterfall

The black curtain opens ....

tourists picnic at the high bench

swinging feet back and forth

across pine needles

Beyond Giants' Graves

Mountain of Wind

rises above clouds

meeting the Arran sky

Glenashdale Falls ….

a holiday romance

on the rocks

© Catherine McDonald 2013

Catherine McDonald was born in Glasgow and, until recently, lived in Portobello, by the sea.  She has moved to a leafy suburb of Edinburgh and no longer lives by the sea - She just dreams about it now!  

The Vampire o’ Clydebank

On dark dark nights when weans lie tightly

Sleepin’ in their beds

An da’s n maw’s n dugs n’aw

Have aw laid doon their heads

There comes a man frae up a close

On a street of little rank

His name they say is Scoosh Mulgrew

The Vampire o’ Clydebank

Now Scoosh drinks blood, he bites folks necks

And sooks it oot their veins

An though he’s no a fussy chap

He’s partial tae young weans

An wimmin tae; he likes them big

An when their blood’s been drank

He’ll leave them lyin’ Persil white

The Vampire o’ Clydebank

On a cauld dark night a man called Frank

Was wae his brother Hugh

They’d been in several pubs that night

When spied by Scoosh Mulgrew

Scoosh leapt at them, he bared his fangs

And intae Frank they sank

Twas then Hugh knew they’d met Mulgrew

The Vampire o’ Clydebank

Hugh pulled a paper from his coat

Scoosh laughed, “That wullnae harm me!”

But he looked again and saw with fear

The words “Salvation Army”

It wis a “War Cry” sure enough

And Scoosh he backwards shrank

He knew that he was beaten then

The Vampire o’ Clydebank

Now Frank was lyin’ on the ground

His face a deathly pale

But he wisne long in cummin’ round

And he lived to tell the tale

Of how his brothers bravery

And a “War Cry” he could thank

For saving him from Scoosh Mulgrew

The Vampire o’ Clydebank

Now you might think this tale is strange

And be inclined tae doubt

But the next time that yer in Clydebank

Just take a look about

At aw the faces deathly pale

Expressions that are blank

And think again on Scoosh Mulgrew

The Vampire o’ Clydebank

Peter Hamill

I am originally from Dumbarton and influenced by the great Matt McGinn


Scotland's Summer Sun … Three Hunner Degrees 

We get telt the sun rises,

Tae begin its day’s feast,

By peerin’ o’er the horizon

Way oot tae the east

An’ they say the sun sets

Havin’ gied o’ its best

By sliding’ o’er the horizon

Straight oot tae the west

Yet here ah um in summer

The twenty-first day o’ June

Watchin’ the sun rise o’er the Campsies

And set well past Dunoon

So forget 'east tae west'

As the arc o’ the sun

'Tmust be well o’er one-eighty

On June twenty-one.

Ah joogled ma brain waves

Ah shoogled ma heid

An’ reflected o’er daylight

Tae get the information ah’d need

If it’s dark aroon’ eleven

An’ lightin’ up again at three

That’s just four ‘oors o’ darkness

It dawned upon me.

If it's wan sixth o’ the day

We’re plunged in the dark

Yon's five-sixths o’ daylight

Fur Scotland’s sunny June o’ arc.

So, it serves tae remember, 

When yer complainin’, prayin’ o’an yer knees,

Nae matter June’s weather

Oor sun shines three hunner degrees.


Tear ...

A wet bubble of emotion.

Yes, a bubble.

Burst into tears.

Tear ...

A forced split.

Yes, forced.

Torn apart. Ripped.



Age o' ten and fu' o' hope,

The big boys knew o' how much rope

Tae gie a keen, fresh-faced wee laddie,

Before they'd make ye look a haddie.

But noo, a level playin' field.

Well, fu’ o’ bumps, if truth revealed.

Ma furst chance, tae show The Heedie,

That ah um skilled and very speedie.

He'd only huv tae watch ma style

Tae realise, whit ah’d kent a while.

The school would huv a winnin’ spree

If he picked the team, includin' me.

But, if ma da' hud only told me,

The perils o' the blaes an' Mouldie,

Then ah'd huv kent o' each disaster

Tae cum frae ash an' roon' Mouldmaster.

Yon solid ba', wi' plastic dimples,

Lea's yer leg, aw rid, wi' pimples.

But skiddin' o'er that rid wet ash,

Ends up wurse than oany rash.

Ma skinny legs, alriddy glowin',

A scarlet curcle clearly showin',

But the pain hud left frae that ba' mark

As ah went zippin' doon the park.

Noo, ah'd've thought a skelp, frae rock-hard plastic,

Would ne'er be surpassed, or felt less drastic,

Than bein' tripped, or tumbled doon,

'Cos ah'd felt that enuff, in the school playgroon'.

But, those wiz nuthin', tae whit happened then,

Wi' me speedin' doon the wing, again.

A lanky leg, came flyin' in,

An' caught me hard, aroon the shin.

Ah skidded tae a stoap, some ten yairds futher,

Cryin' loudly, fur ma muther.

The rid ash ripped, intae ma skin

Even ridder, frae blood, that mingled in.

Cairried aff, tae the chaingin' room.

The door held shut, wi' the Jannie's broom.

"Now, son, this'll no' hurt a bit ... "

Ah've never heard such a crock o' shit!

Ye can furget yon magic sponge.

It wisnae it that made me lunge.

'Twas carbolic soap, an' a coorse dry towel,

That chainged ma sobs, tae a murderous howl.

Soon enuff, studs clunkin' oan the tiles.

The teams appeared. The Heedie smiles.

As ah brush away ma tears

His wurds confirm ma newest fears.

Turned oot. ma team hud easy won,

An' aw the boys, they hud great fun.

But, The Heedie thrust a dagger in ma ear,

When he telt me, "Son, maybe try again next year."

I'm Joyce Colville Hart. I enjoy finding rhymes and playing with words. 

Graduated in 1977 from GlasgowUniversity with Honours Philosophy and followed that by earning a teaching qualification with distinction in mathematics. 

Now, I write and paint, as well as constructing landscapes from my own garden designs.



These microscopic, claustrophobic hours

paint thixotropic flowers upon my bruised eyelids.

Tuxedo shadows twirl and waltz,

keeping step with an unseen piano which plays schmaltzy songs,

pencilled for lovers’ footsteps.

My classic malts collection makes an entrance.

The lighter‘s wheel spins on my thumb,

debits oxygen from my lungs, and burns

            like a conscience

            deliberating where something went wrong.

Love, leave my lips, soul, hand.

Turn my world into a black armband

where seas are oil, thick tar tides,

            and hourglass quicksand

is metallic mineral; magnetite.

City sirens shatter the minute’s silence.

Weakness and grievance are resolved

in whiskey and solvents –

set alight like experiments

            to solve all the heart’s problems.

Then they lift me from the doldrums, and into the ambulance.


You wore them just the once; those tiny, tight threads

that made everything seem to bounce

when you danced. Our heads spun, entranced

by an entrance usually reserved for the famous,

and like a skilled hypnotist, our eyes swung

in time with your gorgeous double-compass.

Everything pointed northwards.

Rhinestone-studded heels glinted below,

while your flamingo-coloured top glowed

like a wild carnation in a gloomy field.

The inked tongue of a tattoo snake

revealed itself between the neck and shoulder blade,

squirming out across the pale snowflake skin

on top of the mountains hidden within.

 I am transfixed. Now every desire in me is to rise

above this bloodstock. Those restless eyes,

as blue and vibrant as Sonic the hedgehog,

make me want to mummify you with my duvet;

sprinkle you like a McFlurry –

slacken you like a blue movie –

joyride you like a Ferrari.

Look my way.

Look my way.





As a nipper, I was a giver; too sweet for my own good.

Steal from the rich and give to the poor –

            the noble creed of Robin Hood.

At school, we learnt about famine in Africa.

We were educated about the threat of Malaria

and how mycobacteria infected crops

affected farmer’s livelihoods.

I took action. Collecting pennies, washing cars,

walking dogs, walking cats if the neighbours so asked.

Any winnings on Dad’s scratch-cards

were mercilessly surrendered; grasped from his hands

and saved in piggy banks and jam jars.

I’m fairly sure though that when he needed fags,

            he wasn’t slow in taking it back.

Then I had a bright idea. Sneaking into my sister’s room,

I untied the Minnie Mouse helium balloons

she had bought at the shows.

Delicately, I snipped string to make knots and bows

round a box of frozen lasagne,

and wrote in large, bold letters: FOR AFRICA –

            before letting go.

A box of lasagne attached to two balloons

soared across the roofs of our street,

southwards where the sun and moon often meet.

            I was grounded for a week

after my sister shrieked, wailing at what I had done.

Yet I never felt more proud, satisfied, or complete

that the lasagne may have saved someone; anyone.

Stephen Watt

- Stephen Watt is a Glaswegian poet whose debut collection "Spit" was published by Bonacia Ltd in early 2012. Stephen's poetry has been published in UK magazines since 2000, and live performances over the last two years across Glasgow and Edinburgh followed his Poetry Rivals Slam Competition win in April 2011, beating 8,000 entrants on his way to the final in Peterborough.


Still The Man I Used To Be.

Sitting here on my own wondering where my friends have gone

but silent whispers I now hear

As they tell everyone he's mad or so that's what I hear.

Where are my friends and why do they not come near

Is it because I was in a psychiatric hospital they do fear

So take a little step closer my friend and you will see

I am still the man I used to be.

Where have they gone I do not know

But our friendship is over and that is so

For they say a friend in need is a friend indeed

But with friends like you is something I no longer need.

So please look at me and you will see

I am still the man I used to be.

Just the same friend as you knew before

But you ended our friendship and closed the door.

Closed the door that's what you have done

So I prayed to my Lord you had no gun

For if you had I would be dead

For I heard all the silent whispers that you said.

So please look again and you will see

I am still the man I used to be.

© Sandy Smith.



O' how I wish I was just like my sisters or brothers

Or even like you or so many others

This stigma I feel is bringing me down

But at the end of the day who is the clown.

Who is these clowns that bring us down

Who run through our City’s and our Towns

Shouting their remarks for all to here

Not caring the hurt they cause or the fear.

To many people do not understand

To many people do not know what we have to withstand

Slimy remarks we take every day

From these people that wont go away.

I live in a land where it is wrong to call someone black or gay

But I have to listen to the stigma I get every day

Take their remarks no mater what they say

For Stigma is allowed in our country today

So before you shout out your wicked remarks

Which is now becoming your trademarks

Just spare a thought for what you do

As one day these remarks could be aimed at you.

© Sandy Smith

February 2013.

My name is Sandy Smith and I love writing poetry and short stories and I also write songs. All my poems and stories and songs are about things that have happened in my life and in 2012 I was in hospital suffering from depression and during this time I wrote a few poems about how I was feeling and how my day to day life was going.



*First published in "Spit", March 2012

I let three years of your jolly lolly stick jokes

crease my lips, cause bottles to gurgle

and stick in my throat, sick of living in a bubble

of marriage, plated by gold circles of eternity.

That one about taking me to Mars, across

the Galaxy (aka Milky Way), because I so loved

to be sweet-talked, bent my skin like

a Curly Wurly. The only true compliment

would be a mint upon my pillow in a hotel

on our anniversary.

Habits exposed themselves like drag queens,

marooned themselves on toilet lids, wet

dreams, Spring collection magazines

where the pages stuck together.

And the routines. Supermarket Tuesday

for Asda’s fresh bananas, weekly dramas

over the binmen’s refusal to lift torn refuse sacks.

Your hideous black nails wagging in their faces,

and squeaky voice, like tasteless helium,

deserve to be thrown in the crusher with them.

Not every woman seeks a powerful substitute

for the weak frogs they marry, but I’ll kiss my Prince

records and dream of adultery when you’re at work,

flirt with a psychiatrist and get recklessly drunk.

I’ll cut your ties in shreds, clench, distressed

that love has turned grey as a one-trick pony,

and squeeze grapes for a feeling of phoney empowerment

I once had over you. Now sour, impotent.

The bus which brings you home need never at all,

until you find me betamaxing myself up

with the thin, flimsy black cassette tape

of our wedding video.

Stephen Watt

Superhero Neighbourhood

People came to Marvel. Gawp.

Look! There’s....and he’s...

buying milk at the shop. Nothing sensational

or controversial, other than the occasional

night-shift superhero leaning against the bus stop.

Streetlight stuttered like the Batman theme.

Drunk women lifted their tops,

flashing tits in front of the windows of Wolverine.

One refused to join in,

swearing she’d never return to her ex man,

and imagined herself invisible. Unseen.

Trophy sunrise lifted the evening cape,

tugging comic colour down the street.

Clark Kent, Bruce Banner, Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker

all de-iced car windscreens, until the sleet

beneath their feet slithered into the drains

where deranged penguins and green goblins

            complained about the hours per week

            they worked in darkness.

Postman, milkman, lollipop woman

removed their masks; turned human

by the council.

Tourists h o w l e d, asking

for mutants with opponents, scoundrels

and showmen for their amusement,

but nearly always left in complete disappointment.

Women wondered how long it would take

for tights to dry on the washing lines,

while iron men smoothed out creases

on shirts and trousers; Calvin Kleins.

To the unobservant eye, unashamedly rude,

there was something terribly boring

about the superhero neighbourhood.

However, one small issue appeared to be missed.

Although this quiet suburbia may have lacked

any source of violence or riot,

crime existed beyond this locus

and heroic powers were being used in efforts to control it.

Stephen Watt

- Stephen Watt is a Glaswegian poet whose debut collection "Spit" was published by Bonacia Ltd in early 2012. Stephen's poetry has been published in UK magazines since 2000, and live performances over the last two years across Glasgow and Edinburgh followed his Poetry Rivals Slam Competition win in April 2011, beating 8,000 entrants on his way to the final in Peterborough.


Some Lassies Wear Glasses

Some lassies

Wear glasses

When eatin' Gelatis

In Italian cafes

In Largs and Dunoon

And on that first date

In Largs

At Nardinis

It seemed on the cards

There was something between us

Or at least wid be soon

But I chanced I could balance

A spoon on my nose

And I froze

As it slipped and fell aff and fell doon

And if oany

Ma starter

Had been Ante Pasta

If oany ah'd chosen

The wee Macaroni

If oany

If oany


It wis Minestrone

N'as the splash frae ma soup headed straight fur yer eye

It wis clear to me then

That this wis goodbye

N'as ye ran frae Nardinis

Wae wan eye defective

It occurred to me then

That whilst first appearances

Can often be deceptive

You were joost wan o those lassies

That should have worn glasses.

Peter Hamill

I am originally from Dumbarton and influenced by the great Matt McGinn.


My Edinburgh

As all the colours change

on Salisbury Crags

above the Radical Road

Samson's ribs reflect

on the city below ….

At Cramond

a cat sits in a cottage window

with one eye closed

as the rain pours down

a thistle plants a seed

in my heart ….

In the Royal Botanic Gardens

a haze of eucalyptus rises

as tropical bark slips from trees

Across the Firth of Forth

two bridges kiss the clouds

as boats bob along the water

in and out of Port Edgar

In the city centre

the Edinburgh haar

drapes over the Castle rock

then quietly steals away

as Festival fireworks light up the sky ....

© Catherine McDonald


Little Lights

Inviting shades of pinks and reds

Browns like a sea of chocolate

Oranges joyful like children's smiles

Yellows cool like crisp autumn leaves

And hot like mustard

Purples like dancing under a romantic moonlight

delicate, pretty like lace

Whites; shades of powder blue

Like the feeling of silk within someone's embrace

Greens – shades of strength and calm

Black – the sadness of the soul

Anger the self-employed destroyer

And of power, self assurance "feeling whole"

Little lights within my soul

I meet you, you meet me

We dance together under sun, snow and rain

From what you present and what I see

A kaleidoscope rich from the human heart

drawing into the uniqueness of life

May my colours enrich and not harm you

May they bring you peace and not strife.

Isabel Morgan



over the radio’s early morning hiss.

Pigeons flit past the window busy

with pigeon-talk among the rubbish.

The sky’s crying again. Sun arise.

Harry is singing me back to Bayswater

his voice breaks through the needle’s scratch and hiss

loud as sunshine. Our feet shuffle, busy

with learning the steps. You rubbish

my dancing, the music is kinder. Sun arise.

Harry is singing me back to Bayswater,

Harry is singing me back to Bayswater,

carpet in the cheap let. Rats are busy

twenty feet down. A late-night tube hisses

and rattles behind the garden. Sun arise.

our feet are out of sync on the rubbish

through palm trees and blue lagoon. You hiss

your discontent, suddenly cruel. It’s rubbish

to think the dance will last. Harry is busy

driving away de darkness. Sun arise.

Harry is singing me back to Bayswater,

A C Clarke, who lives in Glasgow, is a prize-winning poet who has had three full collections published, most recently Fr Meslier's Confession, inspired by the atheist priest, Jean Meslier (Oversteps Books 2012). Her pamphlet A Natural Curiosity (New Voices Press 2011) was inspired by Glasgow’s Museum of Anatomy and was shortlisted for this year’s Callum Macdonald Award. She is a member of the Federation of Writers (Scotland)


A Streak of Gallus

A streak of gallus ran from

Messages tossed from lips,

Mouthed out through the racket

of machines ratching, clattering

Jarring the nerves to exaggerated speech

Mill lassies mouthy

Crude yet carefully modest

Machines scattering tic tac

Codes from line to line

Menage payments affording

The latest fashion

Then turbans of curlers undone

Arms linked like a Paisley pattern

On their way to the dancing

Threading through streets

Marching, laughing, singing

Scanning for talent

Gallus lassies, pure dead Gallus

© Mo Blake


Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697

(A short tale by Moira Hamilton)

I today tell a tale so horrid but true

No fairytale ending but myths that have grew

Of an 11 yr old girl who caught her maid stealing

And off to her parents she did run squealing

The maid so enraged cursed the devil himself

Then everyone worried of the young mistresses health

Stiff as a corpse then fitting begun

Was Katie a Witch should she be hung

The family sailed to the bestest quack

But he was baffled medical records did lack

No possible reason for the illness she has got

But was it Magic did the Witches all plot

The family tried everything in vain

To settle the girl but was she insane

Determined for justice for their daughter they'd fight

They would trial them as Witches but were they right

In 1697 did wealth rule the law

Did those poor souls bewitch the lassie Shaw

30 accused 7 tortured and excecuted

There innocent blood runs, Paisleys town now polluted

A horseshoe marks there resting place

But did paisleys people fall from grace

Lift the horseshoe let the spirits rise

Onto the heavens above the skies

The Witch hunt continues but the story must cease

To allow the 7 victims to finally rest in peace......

Moira Hamilton


Meet Me at St. Monans

Meet me at St. Monans

you know the wee place

where the church on the hill

overlooks the sea

and the back of the Bass Rock

hugs that East Neuk sky

Meet me at St. Monans

to watch gillemots and herons

chase fishtails swishing on the water

as a fresh wind cuts through rainbow arches

and meteors fill the night sky

Meet me at St. Monans

where bones from battles

lay crossed like swords

and fishwives make daisy chains

keeping evil spirits at bay ….

Meet me at St. Monans when the rain stops ….

© Catherine McDonald 2012

Catherine McDonald was born in Glasgow and, until recently, lived in Portobello, by the sea.  She has moved to a leafy suburb of Edinburgh and no longer lives by the sea - She just dreams about it now!  


Day 112 - a single step

walking through life,

with unsteady steps,

faltering often,


picking up my feet,

to lightly tread,

I write my life in footsteps,

ever marching forward.

Day 110 - conscious

If you run away,

I will follow.

In your solitude I will find you and you will know me.

There is no escape from this truth,

for you see me,

in every act you make,

every step you take.

For I am you,

and nothing you can do,

can drown me out.

Day 109 - begin

There is no glow in gold,

the morning sun cannot ecilipse.

There is no rythm in music,

the rain has not beat before.

There is no colour truer,

the rainbow's etched allure.

There is no peace deeper,

 serenity inside.

Day 51-A Fine Romance

‘I like you’ he said

‘I like you’ she said

They kissed to seal the deal

and went on and on.

‘I do’ he said

‘I do’ she said

They kissed to seal the deal

and went on and on.

‘Our first’ he said

‘Our first’ she said

They kissed to seal the deal

and went on and on.

‘At school’ he said

‘At school’ she said

They kissed to seal the deal

and went on and on.

‘Left home’ he said

‘Left home’ she said

They kissed to seal the deal

and went on and on.

‘Getting old’ he said

‘Getting old’ she said

They kissed to seal the deal

and went on and on.

‘No more’ he said

He kissed to seal the deal

and the tears

went on and on.

Day 39 - Dasein

Every three seconds, a new baby is born.

Thrown into a world

not of their making

but for their creating

About 1 in 30 people in the U.S. are in jail, on probation, or on parole.

Is the world they are thrown

from the same


In Kentucky, 50% of the people who get married for the first time are teenagers.

Thrown into a world

not of their making

but for their creating

“This coffee is foul”

“Indeed. Over brewed”


“I shall not return”

“We will go elsewhere”

Fear ran down his leg.

Boy-man with plastic ties on his wrists,

prayed to his God

that his path to heaven would open.

“The train is late”


“Perhaps leaves?”

“Or wind or snow?”

“It makes life slow”

Day 38 - global politic

The men coughed

their guns.

Sun burning their skin

in the dusty compound.

Orders were shouted.

“Petrol is increasing”

“I may buy a bike”

“The governments fault”

“Prices go up”

“Never decreasing”.

The stench

burned the passage

at the back of their throats.

The flies celebrated

the defeat of a falling regime.

How many times do I have to say ‘I love you’

till you understand

I’m talking to you?

The words I write

come out wrong,

verbally challenged.

Too much cleverness,

not enough honesty.

Not enough about sex.

Too much intellectual imagery,

without passion


How many times do I have to say ‘I love you’

till you understand

I’m talking to you?

Day 57 - A Love Poem 3

My name is Jean Thompson and I am a Torrent Poet. Torrent poetry is the art of getting a thought, image or words down in under an hour to avoid that over-worked feel.

I am aiming to write a poem a day for a year. I'm on Day 57.

I have an open group on facebook where anyone can post their poems and a page where I just post my own!/pages/Torrent-Poetry-Jean-Thompson/191509390908404

I'd like anyone who is interested in following my year, participating with their own work or giving me some feedback to join in.


A Still..


Why is the sky blue

why do we yawn

Why do we dream

Why is a raven like a writing desk

Why was Bin Laden buried at sea?


How to make money

How to lose weight fast

How to write a CV

How to draw

How to make pancakes


What is my IP

What is G6

What is the time

What is Love?

What is 3g


Who is?

Who calls me

Who wants to be a millionaire

Who killed Bin Laden

Who is the Stig


Where is Chuck Norris

Where the wild things are

Where is the love

Where is hot in April

Where was Bin laden killed

My name is Fiona. I am a student and work in a library part time. I write in my spare time and I am specifically interested in the issues surrounding postmodernity and social psychology.


I was wondering what the psyche of our world today will look like in retrospect and what is involved in the otherwise unseen pulse of our nation. The lines above are revealing. A still of the mind of our society.


Was it not that simple sparrow's cry

that led me to that thickened forest...

I wandered that endless night

under the moonlit shadows

that reached for me and made me frightful

The wind was a bitter whip,

it made my cheeks ripen with blood.

My dry eyes begged for tears.

...But was it not that simple sparrow's cry

that lost me in this deep wooden land

and took the light and made it dark?

A simple word spoke sweetly to my ears;

whisper of the wilted wind.

It was that sweet and gentle sound

that was the force that turned my head

away from thoughts of lower scour.

It seared my heart from all impurities

and I became divine under the romantic sky. 

The wilted wind was fed and became enraged,

it battled all open words, that wind became a scream,

no longer a sweet whisper, and beat the earth til it wept.

All became stilled- silence covered the land.

I became aware, and followed the sparrow's cry,

that came to me out of the darkened night.

It's fluttering wings flashed my path, and drew me near to early dawn.

It's cry my guide and wind my struggle... I run

Tears fall down my face, soothing my pained cheeks.

Here I enter my paradox of beauty and light.

If not for that simple sparrows cry

that led me to that darkened wood...

30 year old female who thrives on setting emotion into motion. If it makes your heart sigh, it is worth the ride.




The snow is still sticking

and the air is fierce and cold

like a shark - waiting to bite

my head off. A large family

of blue tits are chatting as they

harvest red berries from denuded

branches. The snow cover has muted

sounds and only the bird babble

breaks the white-grey silence.

After today, my only ventures 

will be inwards.


This week, I am rejoicing in cumulus cloud

and the end of steely ice, although I regret the loss

of Arctic blue brightness with cloud soft snow.

But oh, the joy of walking without tense muscles

and downward focus - each step an intrepid choice.

This morning, I watched a thrush having a bath

in an earth brown puddle. It was not a brief splash

but a raucous romp in the rain soaked ground.

Perhaps she too felt the snow coating her

compressing her skin, hair and spirit

like cling film on a teeming sandwich.

I wonder if a big splash can wake

my will and my wit?

Rona Fitzgerald was born in Dublin and has been living in Glasgow for 15 years. She has been writing poetry for about five years and has been fortunate to be part of a writing class with like-minded bards. She is a member of the Federation of Writers (Scotland).


Uncle Malachy

Uncle Malachy knew Methuselah

Says he took him for his first pint

Down at the local.

Got him pissed.

So did Uncle Malachy.

At least that’s whit he says

Uncle Malachy went to America

Taught Davy Crockett tae shoot

And geid him handers at the Alamo

Kicked the shit out of the Mexicans

Did ma Uncle Malachy

At least that’s whit he says

Uncle Malachy walked on the moon

lang afore the rest

Made his ain rocket in the gairden

Wi a dustbin and some plywood

Did ma Uncle Malachy

At least that’s whit he says

Uncle Malachy’s a dreamer

Tells fibs and makes up stories

Yer no tae believe

a single word he says

Yer Uncle Malachy

That’s what my mother says

Uncle Malachy gies me a wink

Comin doon the pond then

Ah’ll show ye how Ah sank the Bismark

Single handed, aw by masel

Said Uncle Malachy

Ah like whit he says

©  Wullie Purcell

The Wear

I miss it you know

in a funny sort of way

despite my desperation

to get away from it all

The weary riverside

with that strange pagoda

overlooking artefacts

of cows and the like

made from iron and steel

The musicality

of the Cathedral bells

ringing out after Evensong

a sound that I am sure

John Knox would have disapproved of

And that heavenly silence

after the bells stop ringing

just before life returns to normal

with the Angel of the North

watching over us …..


Too late to see


as it really was ....

© Catherine McDonald December 2010

Wheelie Gulls

Have you noticed the way seagulls

no longer kiss the water

along the seashore ….

In search of food

They are far too busy

rummaging through wheelie bins

in the suburbs

by  Catherine McDonald  2010

Catherine McDonald was born in Glasgow and, until recently, lived in Portobello, by the sea.  She has moved to a leafy suburb of Edinburgh and no longer lives by the sea - She just dreams about it now!  To date, most of her poetry has a coastal theme.  Her first poem on the rolling poetry pages last year, "Chocolate", is now featured in the Arran Chocolate shop (James of Arran).


     A fine bright shilling

The sea the sea

A breath

All flows, desire

To touch

To make waves of ourselves

Hands on


Washed clean

The sea, the sea

Back and forth

An indication

Parked cars face west

Deep breaths, deep breaths

Pass the salt

The sea the sea

A brisk stride

Finder’s keepers

Molluscs in fish nets

Hooks scuttled

Collecting shells


Waves upon the moon


Roads eloping,

All flows, we desire

The sea, the sea

Falling upon us

Shallow breaths, shallow breaths

Pass the salt

Pass the fine bright shilling

Back and forth

Nappies..Act 5 Scene 1

I remember nappies

A withering of the senses


A sharp potion

Olfactory method thought abroad to sort men from boys

Pee knows no borders

It may come to us gathered in a smile

A little water cleans us of this

Out dammed pee, out I say

Hell is not so murky

Yet who would have so much pee

I remember nappies

Foul scents upon sweet pillows

A slumbery agitation of some performance

A great perturbation in nature

Small pink bags

Mother and father

Removing all means of annoyance

Yet half through this solid verse I am reminded

Upon this slow witted vehicle’s cloth is discharged old pee

Awakening a need in me to wash when I in good order am come to Dalkieth

Beyond the pale

At the procession we were thought to be, ugly

First mother put us on the rack

Stretched our legs 

Stretched our arms

Stamped our books

To make us easy to find

Under the radar

Beyond the pale

How long will it take for me to fall?

Under a hedge

With wet ditch socks

Over a turnstile

Into empty ditch buckets

For we went to sea in a sieve we did

To lands never seen before 

We don’t have a penny

We don’t have a sue

We don’t have a country

Second mother said no

She drank our health but gave no feast

She took us to a horrible zone

That smelt of cabbage and cheese

Where green-blue monkeys drink Ring-Bo-Ree

We tied three sheets to the wind above Red Road

To a wet ditch in an unfriendly field

Three score and ten from our beginnings

Under the radar

Beyond the pale

Ray Evans is a poet and photographer living in Paisley and performs his work at numerous venues around Scotland.



Samhain/All Hallows Eve

I feel your loss more at this time

with the gathering of the dead.

I wonder if you are at the doorway

waiting to move on  still.

How you loved this season

with its abundance of colour/ioldaite*,

the last traces of our own flowering

as we head for oblivion.

Today I watched the final venting

of parched autumn leaves draining

colour from my world with a ferocity

that matched your own as you struggled

to live and then to die.

 *ioldaite is the Irish/Gaelic word multicoloured

Rona Fitzgerald, November 2010

Rona Fitzgerald was born in Dublin and has been living in Glasgow for 15 years. She has been writing poetry for about five years and has been fortunate to be part of a writing class with like minded bards.


The Sound of Colours

Yellow rusty brown

autumn leaves retire

golden feathers whirl

around in the wind

A russet blanket

lies in wait

for snow and rain

or playful footsteps ….


on autumn’s homecoming

leaves rustle

a sigh of relief

Catherine McDonald September 2010

Catherine McDonald was born in Glasgow and, until recently, lived in Portobello, by the sea.  She has moved to a leafy suburb of Edinburgh and no longer lives by the sea - She just dreams about it now!  To date, most of her poetry has a coastal theme.  Her first poem on the rolling poetry pages last year, "Chocolate", is now featured in the Arran Chocolate shop (James of Arran).


HELL’S GATE   by Ian Thomson

In the secret back room of a bar in Rangoon

I at last met the man I’d been seeking.

Poured raw gin in his cup, (stopped his throat drying up)

He gulped some down and then started speaking;

“Son, don't be surprised, for my tale was all lies,

But don't blame yourself, just turn and go...

You must know; can’t you tell? There’s no gateway to Hell

It’s all newspaper talk…” I yelled "NO!"

I let go his shirt stud and he wheezed and coughed blood

Rasped “You win, I'll tell you what I've done."

I was strangely surprised by the look in his eyes

Seemed like triumph, as if he had won ....

As he started to talk my face turned white as chalk,

For I knew that I’d have to be brave...

He had gone to a mine that had closed, since the time

Miners tunneled into a large cave.

In the cave, set well back, was a door; massive; black

Covered in yellowed skulls and strange runes

A jab with a pick nearly made them all sick

As the skulls belched out foul, greenish fumes.

Then the door was thrown back, with a sickening crack

And this daemon from Hell now appeared

He scowled as he said,” All of my men had fled”

That thing was the nightmare he'd feared..

Huge, slimy and green with a translucent sheen,

It saw him through six yellow eyes

Four mouths and six lips showing yellowed fang tips

Each hand had claws monstrous in size

He threw spears at the beast, these blessed by a good priest

The third skewered it right through the chest

It collapsed and he knew, it was dead, dead! It’s true!

He kept the skin, burned the rest....

“I’m a hunter, like you, but the best I can do

Is a tiger or leopard or lion

Stalking Daemons, with spear, in control of my fear

Why, I’d give up my soul just to try one!”

“You’re not so damned clever-you’ve got it forever!”

The old man was dancing with joy.

“The first time a full moon, you will change, and that’s soon!

For tonight is the night, my brave boy.”

And so it has been, every full moon since then

Its skin wraps round me, head to feet.

I become the green daemon and stalk any human

To feed my great hunger for meat.





Ian Thomson is a retired mining engineer , living in Ayr. Poetry in rhythm and rhyme  



This piece portrays one minute of realisation . What is happening in current affairs is shown on a loop as the piece is said.


People on a make

People on a take

People on a break

People on a fiddle

People on a diddle

People on people

People on people


All fall down.

What we see is a montage of everyday life and the weariness of the old in contrast to the exuberance of youth and how the decay and wanton abandonment that is the structural and moral abandonment of society as we perceive it to-day.

Aidan McEoin



Long ago, a ghost of a breeze

stole my hair from it’s clasp

Shielding my eye in a curtain

warmed to gold, by summer’s heady breath

Legs lost to sight

in a field of fragrant flowers

Your hand burning hot on my waist

scalded my innocence

Holding me to a time and place

crackling with light

Where bees flitted from flower to flower

lusting nectar, heads dancing

in a sea of crimson waves

Blood red above our heads

Mo Blake

Maureen, aka Mo, Blake, lived in London and then in Dublin, but returned home to Scotland as she always knew she would.  Mo is a prolific writer and performer of poetry and short fiction.


Black Cart Water

Unseen, unheard, I'm slowly born,

begat of mist, snow, sleet and storm.

Undefined and shallow, broad and mute,

until – in some moss-lined, fetid chute –

I gather speed, and rushing down,

I burst from mother corrie's womb,

and sally forth to meet my brother,

at once released from sheltering mothers.

To race along a peat-lined glen, beyond

human sight, force or ken;

this is my peak, my purpose true.

Till further on, 'neath some shady yew,

I grow father, deeper, slower now,

my surface stippled by some errant bough.

This river now it comes to life,

and makes the plain its patient wife.

His depths provide now a home,

for trout, salmon, duck and vole.

And 'midst his steady, constant flow,

weeds and mosses, lilies grow.

This pleasant scene now wrent asunder;

an angry spate makes good its plunder.

Then battered beaten, torn and sore,

the river falls and glides once more.

Smoothing out and flowing flat,

growing ever, swelling and fat.

And winding as a silv'ry band, he moves

through silt, then mud, then sand.

Then throwing off the gentle land,

at once he fades, lost. His subtle,

woven braids – untied, unpicked, at last

he dies, buried under moody coastal skies.

The Headache

The best description;

a grey triangle is

glued to my head,

glued to my brain.

Like a dark pair of specs,

I'm cut off from the

world; people; caring.

With the triangle comes

the pain, the ache.

The triangle turns syrupy,

blood-red, stagnant.

It pools and pulses,

and the triangle grows.

R. Clark is a student from Renfrewshire. He is interested in a variety of outdoor pursuits, 19th century literature, and philosophy. He has recently started writing poetry, after a break of several years


I Hate Metaphors and Similes

(No, Poetry’s Not For Me.)

I hate metaphors –AND similes               And who the hell wants to

they make me sick, just like a bad curry   listen to poetry

or a dirty dog’s lick                                 anyway- not me,

                                                              I’ve got better things to do

You know what I mean? Teachers          than read odes and limericks

Shoving it down yer throat                      about the birds and bees

Like yer worst nightmare, exam fright

                                                              I’d much rather dream a leaf

Just when you spent all night                    or two down from a tree

memorizing multiple metaphors                and think about Jennie

in Charles Dickens, quotes from              Willerby,

Hard Times                                            wonder if she likes me-

swallowing Shakespeare whole,               and how can I tell her

you walk in, sit down, write your name     she’s just the cat’s pyjamas?

read the question, then you know,

                                                               Oh, no, poetry’s not for me.

suddenly you know, you’ve forgotten every

metaphor’s meaning and all similes go

for a hike, taking your memory on a lead

wandering aimlessly through the park

of your A4 snow-blind mind, a total white-out

a blizzard in the space between yer ears.

No, no recall at all….

Yup, I hate metaphors –AND similes-

Lousy dirty stinking rotten trash

Who cares what that poxy Moron’s got?

Who gives a hoot fur all that rot?

An why is my English teacher such a big Scots grot?!

Who does he think he is anyway, giving me D’s?

When Johnny Williams gets A’s and B’s?

Even when he’s slime- which is most of the smelly time-

So I don’t give a monkey’s for all that rhyme

And Ted Hughes can’t think fox because a fox

Moves quicker than a Thought Fox walks


By my side, a glass of water, a jug, a bag, some books-

a borrowed ‘Silver Darlings’-

after the op., I hear the Visitor, a second time, describing, once again

The Dinner:

“For two pounds, three courses, a prawn cocktail starter, and look-

even tartan napkins.” Once again, she reveals the Napkin, from

the Handbag.

The man she visits is a veteran of El Alamein, Iraq, Palestine,

an ex-Desert Rat, who has landed in the Raigmore listening to

a dinner he was never invited to-

his trophy is a leg with a bullet hole, which now rusts the pins

holding  the leg together-

not a patch on a tartan napkin.

He swaps tales at other times with another infantryman,

across the room, tales of lifting and carrying

guns, sweating in trenches, some didn’t make it back,

some bled all their blood into the mud.

I listen with intent to applaud-

in the shower, with a plastic bag over the arm,

I dream of leading the tanks against Rommel,

maybe as Montgomery’s batman,

reading Spike Milligan’s memoirs for bedtime laughs.

A whole two days later, pins in the arm gone,

I exit for a slow bus to Fort William with a hand in mine

and the voice of a douce dark highlandwoman telling me

the doors of perception are wide open while I

refuse to enter

the halls of my soul.

She whispers, I fear for you, and I say, I fear

Being Squirrel

On that brick wall

that bush his tail

feather-bright light brush


touching his face and nose

like some feather boa burlesque cockette

then twitch, an instant of grey brush-breath

hides the constant eyes' startled brightness

heart-stopping single split second

of grey squirrel

shooting across the summer road

I drive the bike on

once almost

under my front wheel uphill

on this wall he dances

his body instants of quicksilver

and sudden rock stock stillness

I feel this urge to reach, touch

his soft head

blessed beautiful nut.

c.RA Scott, 2009.

My name is Roddy Scott.  I have been writing poetry since 1985.  I am a scribbler of poetry and articles for magazines and occasional short stories.  I started writing after I got a degree in English Lit n French from StirlingUniversity


The Girl At The Window


Champagne on ice

reflects on oyster bars

coffee anticipates

in Seattle


Echoes laugh within

cloisters of Bute

the girl at the window looks .....

just had to


Curiosity kills

love stands still



Catherine McDonald May 2010

Catherine McDonald was born in Glasgow and lives in Portobello, by the sea.  To date, most of her poetry has a coastal theme.  Her first poem on the rolling poetry pages last year, "Chocolate", is now featured in the Arran Chocolate shop (James of Arran).



Above Red Road

somewhere between them

and indifference

A forest

A monument

Another window

He cast three sheets about their waist

Pledged a last thought to mother

The grass was soft, accepting

Like a nest after a fall from grace

With so many mouths to feed

it's hard to tell one bird from another

No balm for the dead

The apothercary is missing

Mourners claim disbelief

One hand denies the other

as both arms court solidarity

for a crazy man toemented by the Gods

Ray Evans has been writing poetry for about 20 years or so.  He currently lives in Paisley.  He has solo collections published.  His work also appears in various anthologies. Ray has won the Sammy Dows poetry competition for the last two years. A selection of his poetry may be found in the upcoming publication of The Scotia Poet Laureate 2010



The Fisherman’s Spell

The fisherman winks

casting a spell over the shore

as he cuts his baited line through

a glimpse of a rainbow

Caught up in the surf

the rainbow breaks

and vanishes into the sea

washing all its colours away

the surf rolls back into the sea

the fisherman smiles

A glimpse of a rainbow

caught up in a moment of time

Catherine McDonald  © April 2009

Catherine McDonald was born in Glasgow and lives in Portobello, by the sea.  To date, most of her poetry has a coastal theme.  The Fisherman's Spell was first published last summer in the first issue of Lyric Magazine.


                            If I don’t come out of the bathroom

                            Then I can’t go to the hospital

                            If I don’t go to the hospital

                            Then I can’t see the doctor

                            If I don’t see the doctor

                            Then I can’t have the operation

                            If I don’t have the operation

                            They can’t do the biopsy

                            If they don’t do the biopsy

                            Then they can’t get the results

                            If they don’t have the results

                            Then I don’t have cancer

                            A knock

                            Time to go

Journey Home

I catch a glimmer as I trundle by:

A kiss; a slap; a cry.

I watch for a moment, and infer a life:

Perfection; a one-off; a lie.

I flick through your windows, like a magazine:

A table, a ladder, a chair.

A life like our own; yet we are unique:

A letter, a rope, despair.

Subtle lighting,

Fluorescent glare,

Pitch darkness,

Nobody there.

All that remains

Is my own reflection.

                            Standing On My Head

                            I sometimes have this huge urge

                            To leap out of bed,

                            Or off the couch

                            And stand on my head.

                            I imagine the rush of blood

                            And with it the thoughts that come tumbling.

                            I imagine the changed perspective

                            Of a world upside down,

                            Where all rules are broken

                            Or up for reassessment.

                            But my feet would hit the pictures

                            Or someone might open the door.

                            I might not be able to balance,

                            And come crashing to the floor.

                            I lie in my bed,

                            Or on my couch,

                            And want to jump up,

                            And stand on my head

                            But I have found

                            If I wait long enough

                            The urge passes

                            And we all stay safe

                            Grounded by gravity.           

Colette Coen is a writer of drama, poetry, flash fiction and short stories.  In the 90s she won a Whitbread Essay Competition; was published many times in Cutting Teeth; and wrote and performed a collaborative piece with members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.  After a long hiatus (3 kids), she is back writing again, winning the 2009 Eileen Gilmour Award.  She has also been published on the internet ( and She loves Margaret Atwood, Muriel Spark and Ugly Betty.



I sold Morrison and Boyd

that great green covered text book

of organic chemistry

I didn’t know what 

I was doing

all I knew was

I wanted to be a poet

not a chemist

poor auld chemists

I thought

there they go

travelling along

a different small street

yet small streets

have infinite

patterns and cracks

at their doorways

sorrows and joys

in the mechanisms

of their being

too much room for freedom of thought

our heads are crowded

with lives that are not ours

they come from the stars


 inside the stars

  and from

  out of the stars

    and from sleek black golfers

     in neat designer trousers

         and slim slips of girls

          in slight silk dresses

             and strange wan publicists

              in smart dark glasses

                 and wrinkled balding editors

                  in mad woolly jerseys

                     and em-pha-ti-cally honest newscasters

                      in gaudy orange lipstick

                         and healthy-skinned politicians

                          in disingenuous suits

                             and former punk academics

                              in clever doctor marten boots

our attention spans are brief

our attention spans were brief

we look to the star-favoured

favourites of our lives –

from L.A. and Hollywood

and cliff-edged Latin Soaps

to stratospheric actors dead on dope

to hedonistic rock-stars dead on dope

to super motivated sports-folk dead on dope

and we eat it all up

oh aye, we ate it all up

our lives are doubly dull

our lives were null and void jokes

and we drink it all down

oh aye, we drank it all down

our lives are Friday night

out on the town

 coz oor minds wur crowdit

 wae thoughts that wurny oors

 they came frae oot the stars

 frae ootia big     bright…    empty…      bubble…   [mommy

unlike descartes

that’s thi thing wae fuck all

if thirs fuck all there

yi jist canny see it

fuckin marvellous eh

emperor’s new clothes

jist bollok, wioot a stitch

fuckin bold though

brass neck uv thi hale fuckin hing

problem wae persepshin

this real

that imajined

never thi twain eh

point thi fingrr

lukkit it

tellsyi yur alive

thank fuck

stull breathin

Jim Ferguson

Jim is a dynamic poet who comes with a HEALTH WARNING.  His poetry is PROFOUND, PROFANE, FUNNY and SEDUCTIVELY MOVING.


Duck Egg

As the sea froze

all the waves

got caught up in surf

and that duck-egg reflection

from the East coast sky

came to a halt ....

Then the sea stopped

looking like a poetic dance

as it became a distant memory

fading away beyond newly raked sand ….

Now all the buckets and spades are stowed away forever.

© Catherine McDonald February 2010

Catherine McDonald was born in Glasgow and lives in Portobello, by the sea.  To date, most of her poetry has a coastal theme.  Catherine is fast becoming a regular on the Read Raw site.



Chattering teeth, foul smell of decay and sweet sickly aroma of something unknown..

Rattling bones, grey horny skin, wet dark traces left on the ground..

I can feel its breath on my neck, tickling and burning.

I can see its shadow following me everywhere.

And I curse it and try to chase it away hissing “Go away devil!”.

But it won’t go.

It stays like the most faithful dog.

And then I realize…

It’s not HIS shadow, the shadow is mine.

Mirror reflection without a face.

And then I see…

My shadow is made of fears, like a patchwork rug,

Laid down on a path of my life.

And then I wonder…

How can I lose my ghostly companion?

..looking at the veins in my wrists.

And then comes acceptance.

I smile.

I’m alive.

KBoreysza 2010

Kasia lives in Glasgow and is a regular attender of The Hidden Lane Cafe where she reads both poetry and prose


Proud Mothers

Proud Mothers watch the passing Parade,

The drums beat loudly as our boys keep in step,

Shiny new soldiers ready for war,

Training is over , Green berets fly high.

What lies ahead no one is sure,

Perhaps they are too young to understand war.

Win Hearts and minds and fly the flag high,

Well thats what they are told when they march forth to Die.

Our boys trample down the Taliban Scum,

Proud Mothers await the return of their Sons.

They scream;  “more body armour” and support for our lads,

And Taliban children die in Jihad.

Inhuman brutality is beyond comprehension,

Yet we march on with Military pursuits.

God and Country, Hearts and Minds,

Or maybe just Dollars and Politicians Headlines.

© Malcolm McDonald,  February 2010,

Crossford, Dunfermline.

Malcolm is aged 51 and lives in the village of Crossford in Fife.  He  holds a BA degree in European History and Sociology.  He is a qualified Mental Health Nurse, Hypnotherapist and works for the Oil & Gas Industry as an Offshore Medic.


Jigsaw Puzzle

Five hundred fragments

of unfulfilled dreams

one piece missing

Cobble stones

hot scree

white painted houses

Zaragoza, tharagotha, sarogosa

no sea

chipped window boxes

broken venetian shutters

waves and waves and waves

of lovesick sun flowers

all yearning for a vase of their own

White tripe disguised

by exotic names of forgotten places

lurking under tapas trees

only its smell giving it away

Spanish train

murmurs, mutters, murmurs

through seven hours

of desert and despair

held to the rails by smoke

clinging from the end carriage

flamenco fighters, bull dancers

bull fighters, flamenco dancers

A fork of lightning

breaks up the sky

Last piece unattainable

reported missing

if recovered

will wipe out the dream

© Catherine McDonald February 2010

Catherine McDonald was born in Glasgow and lives in Portobello, by the sea.  To date, most of her poetry has a coastal theme.  Her poem, "Chocolate" appeared on our rolling poetry page back in October - this one has more of a Spanish feel to it! 



On yellow lines it stands forlorn

Abandoned old blue banger,

Parking lonely by the kerb

No owner ever seen to drive it.

    But the steering’s firmly locked

    wheels held by ostentatious clamp.


‘Er… Hullo, hi there, Guys.                                          

Don’t think that I am begging but

please help me with donations              

for I have no-one in this country.’

    Speaking in her London accent                                       

    She swiftly works the crowded carriage.


                        Our solemn suited leaders

                        Go jovially for war

                        Khaki clad young soldiers

                        Board transports on command

                            The manicured hands at length wield pens

                            Turn bitter war to tainted peace                                


    who died?

Mary Strick, February 2006


Photography Is All About Light.

and give salute to Winter’s coming gloom.

In awe I press my camera shutter.  Click!

From under dark storm clouds a shaft of light

illuminates a tree intensely yellow.

Brave flaming sword protecting Eden’s gate,

defiant challenge to dark pines that frown

pays Autumn tribute to past and future bounty

I capture eagerly this different scene.

Next day a lustrous sun in lapis sky

pours light on transformed scene.  A gilded tree

of splendour, robed in russet, red and gold

befitting Midas’ court in royal richness

A difference wrought by light.  Click!  Click!

Photography is all about light.

Mary Strick, December 2008


Life Everlasting.

My tree is being robbed

my Autumn tree of splendour

robbed of leaf of gold

cruel winds bullying



Branches dance to storm songs            

challenge ruthless adversary .

some dogged leaves remain  

staunchly clinging



I watch high drama through the window

my tree defies cruel Winter

knowing Spring will surely come

and Summer’s warm returning



                                                                         Mary Strick, December, 2009.

These are both about a tree in the Glen opposite, which I watch daily from our windows.  It fascinates and inspires me

Mary Strick grew up in South Africa. of Scottish (100%!) stock and now lives in West Kilbride.  As Mary puts it:- "Other than chattering away, storing up observations about the world I lived and live in, enjoying letter writing, I was too busy bringing up kids and helping to run a farm to have fancy ideas about creative writing.  Who me? - you must be joking, would have been my response. The poetry bug has sneaked up unbidden and left me and mine with a feeling of astonishment."


Nude Sensuality

Desnudo sensualidad – a painting by Francisco Alarcón

Dew point

looks to you to chase

the delicate moths of mists

on your short tether.

To put red lips

on pencilled life models,

you don’t have long. 

A glare of winter,

a wink long enough

for a rumour to start.


Desnudo Pelo Recogido - a painting by Francisco Alarcón

behind her back

he is dancing

cheek to cheek


he never shared

with her

she is blinded

in the left eye

by the brittle brim

of honesty

she wears

as a shade


by a single

ice blue tear

Spinning Jenny

in a soaring ash tree

hung with coloured ropes

Jenny spins

in a ring, a full moon,

singing upside down

on the final note

she falls for silk

like a tissue

to catch her


The hour before dawn

falls in fragments

of patterned glass.

Dewdrops light

the nightingale’s wings.

His song is dusted with mist.

A low echo to the river.

I put up a fresh canvas

and sketch a frieze

of drying peppers.

To bring up the sun

and silence the nightingale.

Now I can hear

each blade of grass grow

in the morning’s dwam.



I divide my writing time between Scotland and Spain. Born and raised in Fife, I now have homes in Edinburgh and Alhaurín el Grande. I have been a member of The School of Poets at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh. My first collection of poetry entitled 'Catapult to Mars' was published in 2006 by Poetry Monthly Press. I have a poetry blog at that welcomes poetry submissions. Here are a few poems for Red Raw.




Gordon Mason


Grey Heron at Peninver

The grey heron stands

in falling twilight

her white neck strained onwards

one leg wide before the other,

a runner ready for the off.

She pulls her neck down and in,

head horizontal with the sea-line

along her body, then a turn

and up, up, up,

like Tai Chi for birds.

But from the front she is ungainly,

her knees knock together, busty, a frump.

She strikes a pose

and I’m reminded of my gran,

lost and uncertain in a station.

In fact she’s only testing, knows

the time of the tide, the best fish,

when to leave, when to arrive, like any elegant lady,

and how not to ruffle water when dinner is about.

But mostly, how not to be distracted by the curlews

or the black backs

or the crash and blast of waves,

or the sudden splash of seal pups,

their belch and shout in the quiet,

or the grace of silent mountains fading with the day

or a million little thrushes, pipits, swallows, larks and sparrows,

or me with my binoculars staring at her hard

the way she stares into the water and pretends she is not there.

Still Water

The water in my stomach is the stillest it’s ever been.

From rising

         off plains and seas

to falling

            as rain

                                                             sweeping mountain tops,


             in rivulets

                        down rocks

                                      into gullies

                                                 to streams and rivers

                                                                    into reservoirs

                                                                                    rippling under wind

                                                                                                          and shooting



                                                                                                 into boiling wet infernos

then oozing along gargantuan pipes

                                                              to smaller andsmaller ones

until it halts a second behind my tap

                                                            before gushing into a crystal glass in my hand.

It swirls past my teeth and tongue, down the gullet and into the stomach

                 where it lingers,

                                                  awaiting dissemination around the cells of my body

                               until at last it is as still as I am

                                                                   as I sit in my chair, book and pen in hand.

Glendaruel Camp

I, a woman, became a man that day,

           planning, organising, executing,

                  shuffling huffily when

                                                  my sister and kids did something else.

I installed the van, the family

                                in the camp-site then,

           over-whelmed, felt the need to be

                                                                         not there,

                                                                                                  not where

          she and the kids were.


if she would just do things

                                          my way,

                                                        not hers,

                                    see the damage she is doing them,

then I could smile and offer

                          some witty banter

                                               exchange some pleasantries,

                                                                            intimacies even,

but this allowance of

              his little man’s stoicism,

              her little girl’s aggression,

              her voice as a weapon,

              his armour a fist,

       this is bad for children and

                                          the world,

                                               the future of

                                                     all worlds.

I fulfil my tasks,

   dinner, tidy, wash up, then

                                       sneak out the back way

                                                through bushes and playgrounds,

                                                                  past business buildings, and beyond.

the little gate clicks shut,

   the path steep,

       the air noisy;

                           spray soaks my face

                                       and the waterfall reveals itself

                                                                                  finally in a mighty roar

I give myself to this sound,

                   await a mighty echo in myself,


                                                                                                          in silence

I find it green, very green, in fact

isn’t that a …? and that …?

                            well, does it really matter,

                            the species of the tree,

                            the number of species?

                                               the depth of moss that

                                               covers all, its velvet touch,

                                               rocks that made it happen,

                                               the path that someone built?

too wet to sit I

                 stand,       still,     just here,

                                                                  then here,           and there

until the roar turns to

                      silence and other people’s whispers,

                           moments sad or joyous

                                rippling through my body,

                                    pouring down the veins,

                                        flowing through my cells then on

                                             to somewhere else or

                                                                                       to nowhere

                                                                                                  to nothing.

her son meets me on the path

   back down,

worried, enquiring, demanding

                    to be taken to this waterfall.

                                                                  I tell him

                                                                            I will take him anywhere

                                                                                        I am able.

he nods appreciation at the roar and

         we return, two men to our sisters

and I see how hard they try

how hard it is and

       remember how hard it used to be, living

alone with kids

       and how tired I was then of being both

Mum and Dad.


raises every last molecule of

H - 2 – O,

spreads them lengthwise

and heightwise,


until two clouds bump together

like bathtubs thrown by giants

and spill their precious goods.

Down they come in verticals,

diagonals, horizontals,

‘til a maelstrom of a mish-mash

stirs a very potent brew,

and in all the glens of Scotland

the battles still rage.

The sun, when blazing,

Ba Bridge

brown water

white rapids

grey stone

green lichen

pumping heart

black burn

such are promises

a pocket full of rice

the roads are strewn with seaweed

the police have called me twice

sunlight on mid-morning

the rats are in a flutter

the cars are red and green and blue

I did not hear you utter

the blind girl did a sword-dance

it’s only crowds with you

the doctor came, he brought his wife

and now that we are through

a single, solitary word

the chairs are in the garden

the sun’s been on them all day long

my pet mouse ate the lardons

with pots and pans and cooking sauce

and bed-time is upon us

my book is falling on its face

winged chariots a promise

pink clouds are at the window now

Sue Reid Sexton lives in Glasgow and writes poetry, short stories and novels, mostly about people who're a bit screwy, smell a bit and don't fit comfortably with the mainstream world. Not autobiographical obviously.


Gawain in the Green Forest

At the centre is the sun

But our man can’t mind the path.

Kids won’t play on his estate

And all that’s left is to tilt

For older, darker lakes.

At right, bronzed selkie brides

Sea monsters, sirens, nix

Hawk their wares

As loach lap the black ink in ratio.

Tractors wallow idle in the fields,

Clung to by moss and rust;

Silage mires their treads, lodged inside

A corona of flecked paint – golden hair

Lionised in the warming sun.


Our man finds him

Like a child found static

At the 1939 world’s fair

Green knight asks if 

His revenant bones

Still gird the worthies round;

If tubers reach for his dead boot-soles

To aid him in his hiding from the cold.

Gawain’s answer, tough as jail

Weakened by temptation to the ground – 

Hasten to me, sir knight 

Our king’s no longer in the green.


My name's Richard Watt and I'm a 28-year-old journalist from Tayside. I write poetry and short stories of a slightly fantastical nature, some in Scots and some in English, and have been bothering grants bodies for money for a few years now.

Best wishes for the decade's end,




No.58, Slorkram

This stilted house with tacit heart speaks

Out in castigation of the card-counting

Swindlers gambling by the river.

His ferny feet point to secrets buried

Deep in the soil, down beneath the timber;

Where, all earthy, only spiders stray.

Together we watch the sky like television

Screens: lapis days turn back to black

Booted nights but we natter on

Letting colours creep and silence shuffle

Out from the shadows in the shrubs -

Like milk mixing into tea. Tonight

It’s the ether eyeballing us; its winds gallop

From tufts to yarns then settle in yawns –

A telltale sign to canter off to bed.

‘Remember Michael’ (with a voice

As brass as bells): ‘Inside all bones are white

And souls are soft as ripened Mango’.

‘Of course. I won’t forget it.’

And tomorrow can we talk about

That Big City who lost his feathered hat.




Reilly, deepest dreamer, sleeping

In the bedroom, petal pink

And handsome: around a thousand

Broken pieces, long black locks

Like dirty cats’ tails; both little feet

Bouncing to hidden rhythms.


How he rests this way is beyond me

For whom night comes in teasing chapters:

Light nods, intruded upon by sun

Turned tangerine, on clumpy floorboards.


Soon he’s up too

Straight for the rolling tobacco

Lungs like power stations;

Greets day with coughs and chuckles.

Mornings spent tiptoeing

Around resting Reilly

To the sound of damaged vinyl

Are among my fondest reveries.



Nowadays, we’re out of sorts

Reilly and I, though I still visit

The pictures smiling, framing secret

Words through wine-stained lips.


I’m sure we’ve both said it out loud

(a train-station aberration perhaps):

‘I miss you’; afterwards feeling a little

Exposed - like damp leaves or rotting twigs

Laying idle in guttering.


It seems his crooked teeth, this crooked tale

Weren’t quite as unsightly as first

I thought. It’s just a matter of fact-finding -

Like discovering the stories

Behind scratches in wood.


Door, Roof and Drainpipe.


The noises stairwells make are grumbles

of grey, blue and green. In winter they speak

with snowmen, come spring they’re calling

to pigeons or passing gangs of sparrows.

Summer’s a season to watch what people do

and through autumn, it just depends:

if there’s Staffies around they’ll yap away;

if not, a rusty bucket does just fine.

Our antique Edinburgh tenements

have big beastly vocal cords, to bellow

through the gales and hails; you’ll find elders

cackling (having gone a bit senile)

at sheltering infants, drenched to the bone

or traffic-jams festering like old fruit.

It’s akin to how a passing boat salutes another -

one sturdy honk on the horn and a wily smile

pinned to the puss of the captain.

The lighting comes in lantern form and blinks

like candles battling a testing breeze.

Though the smells exuded, distinct from lavender,

pack quite the pong - all musty, musky, wet

and leathery. But rest assured

it’s nothing wicked; more like a little

too much salt on supper.

I think of my favourite stairwells as wise

old men; a thousand creases in the skin

and mottled beards they’re constantly twizzling.

Each like the bard, tinker or storyteller

has a handsome ken - from roving fields and forests

and talking with strangers.

These jovial giants stand shoulder-

to-shoulder with Gulliver and my granddad.

As for the rats, Gremlins and even more

sinister goings-on they host...well

we can’t always choose who comes to visit

or at what hour they call.

News Cast

Siem Reap is stitched together

With huts and hovels, electrical wires

And bendy barbed fencing.

Each day begins by the oily trigger

Of a moto-bike ignition; post porridge,

Pre the first garish sales pitch.

People’s want to walk flummoxes the Tuk-

Tuk operators flanked by the bride - as if

They were cowboys pitching to astronauts.

Their red roads come without a welcome mat

Quickly turn to sloppy clay when damp;

Clump, bubble and cook in a sun

As indiscreet as microwaved eggs.

Bees are bigger, beer is cheaper

The coins have absconded for China -

So the poor paper’s all grimy and over-worked

Like scuffled sneakers. Each evening

Conducts its own incongruous symphony

Of capricious deeds (fickle as the habits of fish);

And though I end up bug-bitten and perspiring

Wildly, taken for mug and sometimes lonely  -

I am happy, in this wooden house, reading

A backlog of texts from a brimful list

So many, many miles from all your news.



Kosal, with managerial magnitude,

Proffers a bottle of Johnny Walker -


Like the petrol-filled pockets

Serenading bike engines

On every spooky corner.

This one’s more of an arena

And inside it, lurking, amongst

The gunk, gloop and phlegmy matter

Is a fighting fish: pretty, pink

And pouting, like a cartoon smooch.

An opponent fidgets in his own den:

A plastic bag once turgid now globby

As a sopping marshmallow.

Each delicate little samurai

Patrols his border - bottle up

Against bag - so as the pair

Can rile one and other

In a shimmering showdown.

Only in Asia is there cadence

In the pre-match scaremongering.

As an audience, we’re just as puckered

When the fish-bowl super-bowl

All kicks-off. Fins striking in clashing colours

Like kites sparring in the wind;

Imaginary symbols clang

As we make sloppy figures of eight

And grab at each other’s skinny parts.

They duel a little

But when the showboating crescendos

Into something a tad fiercer

He puts a firm stop to it. Just protecting

His investment; it only takes seconds

For the dollars on the head of a champion

To fold like a bad hand into scaleless

Scars and bird feed;

And these are testing times

For us all.

My name is Michael Pedersen and I'm a 25 year old writer of Caledonian stock. I've recently launched my first chapbook with Koo Press - the book has received a few anointments including a Poetry Society

Recommended Read.


I'm currently self-exiled in Cambodia completing my first full collection and assembling a film script.


Hope you enjoy this hamper of diction.


Much mirth,






as you contemplate

the first bite


beyond wildest dreams

flow into your mouth

Lips part

as beads of sweat

run from your forehead

chocolate touches your tongue

your face contorts

Sensual expressions

leave you consumed by pleasure

The last piece dissolves

with everything else around you

melted chocolate arouses

as it escapes from your mouth

The plate is empty and hungry

along with your heart …..

by Catherine McDonald  © October 2009

Catherine McDonald was born in Glasgow and lives in Portobello, by the sea.  To date, most of her poetry has a coastal theme….. “Chocolate” is something different!


My birds

I have a pair of buzzards

I keep them in the sky

above the woods I pass each day

They circle round like stringless kites

as if they might swoop

down for prey; just not today.

But buzzard birds are hard to train

no discipline, wrong kind of brain

I often find they’ve slipped the sky

and wait on fence posts

sharp of eye, for me to wave

before they fly.

Rhona Ritchie

Rhona lives in Lochwinnoch with her husband and two children

and is just starting an Open University creative writing course.